To­tal lu­nar eclipse wel­comes in an ex­cit­ing New Year

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Opinion - Neel ROBERTS

2019 starts off with a Blood Moon on Sun­day, Jan. 20 af­ter sup­per.

A to­tal lu­nar eclipse takes place when the Earth comes be­tween the Sun and our satel­lite cov­er­ing the Moon with its shadow.

When this hap­pens, the Moon usu­ally turns red, hence the Blood Moon.

It’s the only ma­jor event for this year on our side of the world.

Start time is 07:36 p.m., peaks at 10:12 p.m. un­til 10:43 p.m. and fin­ish­ing off just af­ter mid­night. There­fore, given the rea­son­able time and 31 minute max­i­mum eclipse time, don’t miss it. South­ern Al­berta will get a won­der­ful view and the Roth­ney Ob­ser­va­tory near Prid­dis will be host­ing this to the pub­lic.

Open­ing at 20:30, a large crowd is ex­pected so ar­rive early.

It’s a full fa­cil­ity with many tele­scopes, speak­ing fa­cil­i­ties and lots of place to warm up.

You are wel­come to bring your own vis­ual aids or share the many on site.

The last to­tal lu­nar eclipse was about a year ago and next isn’t for over two years on May 26, 2021, so worth keep­ing the kids up for this.

Lastly, un­less it’s a ma­jor Chi­nook, dress like you’re go­ing to the North Pole as the +4,000 feet alti­tude makes it feel like Alaska in a short time!

Sky watch for the next month:

1 Venus at it’s bright­est- On Sun­day, Jan. 6 ris­ing at 4:40 am in the SEE, it blazes at -4.47 mag­ni­tude right into the morn­ing. It’s the bright­est ob­ject in the night sky be­sides the Moon.

2 Alde­baran fol­lows Moon- On Thurs­day, Jan.17 af­ter sun­set watch this planet fol­low our satel­lite overnight.

3 Jupiter & Venus Dawn rise to­gether- On Tues­day, Jan. 22 look in the SEE at 05:00 am un­til sun­rise as the fade into day­light.

4 Quad­ran­tid Me­teor Shower- Peaks just af­ter New Years on Thurs­day, Jan. 3 af­ter dusk go­ing on about a week. Best viewing in the Bootes con­stel­la­tion (NEE) and a Moon­less night you may catch up to pro­duce some 50-100 me­te­ors per hour

Pub­lic Events for the next month:

Monthly Open House at Cal­gary’s Roth­ney Ob­ser­va­tory near Prid­dis-Check out our first stargaz­ing event for the year with a one-time, spe­cial meet­ing for 2019 host­ing the To­tal Lu­nar Eclipse on Sun­day, Jan. 20 from 20:30 to 23:00.

There will be an ar­ray of scopes op­er­ated by Uni­ver­sity of Cal­gary astronomers and mem­bers of the RASC Cal­gary.

You will have the op­por­tu­nity to look through the tele­scopes, in­door pre­sen­ta­tion and astronomers will be on hand to an­swer ques­tions.

The en­trance fee $30 per car. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Jen­nifer Howse at [email protected]­gary.ca, (403) 931-2366. Their web­site https://www.ucal­gary.ca/rao/ is up­dated reg­u­larly.

Happy New Year and the best for 2019 and be­yond!

Neel Roberts is a mem­ber of the Cal­gary chap­ter of the Royal As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety of Canada (RASC)-the na­tion’s lead­ing as­tron­omy club founded in 1849 with over 5,000 mem­bers and 29 cen­ters across Canada. Neel wel­comes your ques­tions and com­ments at (403)560-6574, [email protected]­canada.com. The mem­bers meet once a month on week­ends at Cal­gary’s Roth­ney Ob­ser­va­tory near Prid­dis and you can check out times at https://www.ucal­gary.ca/ rao/cal­en­dar. Like them at Face­book at https://www.face­book.com/ groups/272037680377/, Twit­ter https://twit­ter.com/ Cal­gar­yRASC & YouTube https://www.youtube.com/ user/RASCCal­gary.

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